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Open Access Research article

Metabolism of no-carrier-added 2-[18F]fluoro-L-tyrosine in rats

Joël J Aerts*, Alain R Plenevaux, Christian F Lemaire, Fabrice Giacomelli, Geoffrey I Warnock, Christophe L Phillips and André J Luxen

Author Affiliations

Centre de Recherches du Cyclotron, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgique

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BMC Medical Physics 2008, 8:4  doi:10.1186/1756-6649-8-4

Published: 7 November 2008

Abstract

Background

Several fluorine-18 labelled fluoroamino acids have been evaluated as tracers for the quantitative assessment of cerebral protein synthesis in vivo by positron emission tomography (PET). Among these, 2-[18F]fluoro-L-tyrosine (2-[18F]Tyr) has been studied in mice at a low specific activity. Its incorporation into proteins is fast and metabolism via other pathways is limited. The present in vivo study was carried out in normal awake rats using no-carrier-added 2-[18F]Tyr. Under normal physiological conditions, we have studied the incorporation into proteins and the metabolism of the tracer in different brain areas.

Methods

No-carrier-added 2-[18F]Tyr was administered to awake rats equipped with chronic arterial and venous catheters. The time course of the plasma activity was studied by arterial blood sampling. The biodistribution of the activity in the main organs was studied at the end of the experiment. The distribution of radioactive species in plasma and brain regions was studied by acidic precipitation of the proteins and HPLC analysis of the supernatant.

Results

The absolute uptake of radioactivity in brain regions was homogenous. In awake rats, no-carrier-added 2-[18F]Tyr exhibits a fast and almost quantitative incorporation into the proteins fractions of cerebellum and cortex. In striatum, this incorporation into proteins and the unchanged fraction of the tracer detected by HPLC could be lower than in other brain regions.

Conclusion

This study confirms the potential of 2-[18F]fluoro-L-tyrosine as a tracer for the assessment of the rate of protein synthesis by positron emission tomography. The observed metabolism suggests a need for a correction for the appearance of metabolites, at least in plasma.